Article Date: 2/1/2008

Track Referrals With Software
COMANAGEMENT

Track Referrals With Software

Using this free computer software, you won't lose sight of referrals.

Sheldon H. Kreda, O.D., F.A.A.O. Lauderhill, Fla.

When we refer a patient to a specialist, we often loose track of that patient. This means the patient's condition may worsen, as many patients don't comply with our referrals. Also, our practice can become liable for the outcome of their noncompliance, should we not keep accurate records.

In an effort to ensure my patients receive the care they require and my practice doesn't incur a malpractice lawsuit, I've created simple-to-use software that acts as both a referral form and record.

Here, I explain how this software, which runs on the Microsoft Access database, works and how you can obtain it free of charge (See "Referral").

Tracking from start to finish

The first step in filling out a referral form is to determine to whom to refer the patient. To streamline this process, my software contains a drop-down list of practitioners to whom I typically refer. (You can pre-load your commonly used specialists).

The next step in filling out the form is to state the reason for the referral. To facilitate this step, the software contains a "Reason for Referral" box that contains a drop-down list of common pathologies, or I can personally type the reason. (You can pre-load your own list or personally enter the reason.) I then select the involved eye or eyes in the soft-ware's "Eye" box.

When a patient's health plan permits direct referral to a specialist, my receptionist then schedules the appointment via the software's "Appointment Date" feature before the patient leaves the practice. This prevents patients from procrastinating to make the appointment. A bonus: The "Appointment Date" section also contains a note box, should you or staff need to alert the specialist about specific patient details.

Next, a staff member prints and faxes the filled out form, along with a copy of the patient's exam data, to the specialist. This step is beneficial, as it immediately recruits the help of the specialist's staff to make sure your patient is aware of the appointment. The status of the appointment then defaults to "pending."

Now, the staff member prints the referral form and sorts it by date and status, so she can select progress updates, such as "Seen by Specialist," on the program.

To remind the specialist to arrange for you to provide follow-up care, the form defaults to "Co-Management Accepted."

Time-saving/comanagement

Although the goal of this software is to ensure your patients comply with your referrals, its streamlined features have also enabled my staff and I to save time, allowing us to spend more one-on-one time with patients. It's also enabled us to keep accurate records on those specialists who've returned the patient to our care. OM

Editor's note: Obtain Dr. Kreda's Referral software by e-mailing him at eyerx@comcast.net.


Dr. Kreda practices in Lauderhill, Fla. He's a frequent lecturer and author.



Optometric Management, Issue: February 2008